Coweta BoE adopts $173M budget

The Coweta County Board of Education on June 25 adopted a $173 million operations budget for the 2014-2015 school year. The budget includes the restoration of a full work-year calendar for all employees and employee step increases.

The FY 2015 budget represents a $5 million increase over last year’s budget. The school system expects revenues totaling $193.8 million, of which $20.8 million will make up the fund equity.

The budget maintains the current 180-day student calendar, will include a step increase for employees whose salaries are based on the state teacher pay scale and includes a step increase for employees whose salaries are not based on the state teacher pay scale. Pay for employees whose salaries are not based on the teacher pay scale had been frozen for the past five years, said school system spokesman Dean Jackson.

Jackson said the budget also restores a full work-year calendar to all employees by eliminating the three calendar reduction days for employees which had been in place for several years in response to state austerity cuts and other loss of revenue for the school system. All employees working beyond the 180-day instructional calendar had been subject to the three-day reduction for the last several years.

The FY 2015 general fund budget of $172,975,820 is funded principally by state revenues and local property taxes. The general fund includes the largest portion of funding for instruction and pupil services, maintenance and operation of schools, transportation and other operational costs, Jackson said.

School system Assistant Superintendent for Financial Services Keith Chapman reported an improvement in state revenues for the upcoming fiscal year, adding that the school system was projecting a 3 percent increase in growth for the local tax digest. That compares to the 1.69 percent growth seen last year along with significant declines in local revenue during the several previous fiscal years.

Projected revenue totals show $76.2 million from local sources, $91.4 million from the state and $580,000 from federal sources.

The school system has no bond debt service. All outstanding bonds were retired in 2013.

In addition to the general fund, there were other components approved by the board as a part of its total FY 2015 budget.

These include $22,731,539 in special revenue funds, which accounts for funding sent to special federal programs such as Title I, federal lunch programs, and IDEA (funding for disabilities).

Also included is $47.3 million in capital projects funds which account for construction and other capital expenditures during the year. School construction is funded principally by Educational Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax revenues. The system also receives some state funding for construction, said Jackson.

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